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OSCE’s Involvement in Conflict Resolution Across the Post-Soviet Space

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On December 2–3, 2021, a meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council was held. Amid the unrelenting crisis in the Russia-West relations, any events that facilitate dialogue are worthy of positive assessment. Especially if these are face-to-face meetings in a state of “new normal”, the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it would be difficult to argue that the OSCE Ministerial Council adopted any breakthrough decisions aimed at resolving existing conflicts. This led to the accusation of the organization that it was “mired in petty agendas.” Lack of significant and publicly visible achievements of the OSCE in recent years seems to cast doubt on the institution’s ability to contribute to security on the continent. At the same time, it raises the question of whether the classical approach to assessing the organisation’s activities can be applied without due account of the modalities of its emergence.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is not the most common example of a security institution. The OSCE’s consensus-based decision-making process and lack of international legal personality contribute to the fact that politicians and experts tend to emphasize the need to adhere to the norms and principles formulated within the framework of the organization, while at the same time criticizing it for inefficiency.

The origins of the OSCE’s peculiarities lie in the history of its establishment. The convening of the CSCE during the Cold War was prompted by the desire of representatives of the two opposing blocs to design norms for peaceful co-existence on the continent. Consequently, the solution of the fundamental issues was based on a consensus among all the participants.

Following the collapse of the socialist bloc, Moscow hoped that the CSCE/OSCE could emerge as the basis of a new international security architecture. Russia made proposals to empower the organisation through establishing a Permanent Council, increasing the role of the CSCE Troika, and creating working groups. However, the prospect that consensus decision-making be abandoned raised concerns in a number of smaller countries, and most Western representatives did not support the idea of transferring the leading role from NATO to the CSCE/OSCE [1].

Having lost its significance as a forum for interaction between the two opposing blocs but never becoming the basis for a new security architecture, the CSCE/OSCE had to imbue itself with a new identity. Due to the military engagements in the Balkans and the post-Soviet space, the organisation focused on several specific narrow areas, namely assistance in resolving conflicts, protecting human rights, developing democratic institutions and monitoring elections. The institute was designed to tackle new challenges, relying on old procedures. While this may have been effective in a hypothetical Common European Home, the OSCE’s response potential is limited in the context of real conflicts in Europe and increasing tensions between Russia and the West, all of which makes consensus-building difficult. It is therefore of particular interest to see how the organisation performs as a crisis mediator in the post-Soviet space.

The OSCE in Nagorno-Karabakh: In the Search of a New Role

The CSCE/OSCE has been involved in settling the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh since its active phase. Already in the 1990s, a three-element system was formed to work on its resolution, which included the Minsk Group led by the Co-Chairs, the High-Level Planning Group (HLPG) and the Personal Representative of the Chairperson-in-Office.

The preconditions for the Minsk Group were laid back in 1992, when the CSCE reached an agreement on the so-called Minsk Conference of 11 national representatives. When, over time, it became clear that no solution was to be arrived at in the near future, the establishment of the Minsk Group followed, and in 1996-1997 the institution of three co-chairs, comprising Russia, France and the United States, was finally formed. Within the Minsk Group, a number of concepts for conflict resolution were presented in 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2008, but none of them was ever implemented. Peaceful settlement was hampered by both the opposing sides’ differing visions of resolution principles, and the internal political situation in Azerbaijan and Armenia, including the attack on the parliament in Yerevan in 1999.

The 1994 Budapest Summit actively discussed the proposal to send a peacekeeping and observer mission to the conflict zone. The idea was not carried out due to controversy among the participants. Instead, a High-Level Planning Group with an unlimited mandate was created to provide the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office with recommendations on sending the organization’s peacekeeping forces to Nagorno-Karabakh. Although the HLPG continues with its annual speculations about possible scenarios for a peacekeeping/observer operation, little if any support for these ideas among the main actors prevents these proposals from being implemented.

In the absence of an observation mission, partial monitoring of the conflict zone began to be carried out by the Personal Representative of the Chair and his Office. However, the small size of the staff, the short duration of activities and the need for preliminary resolution of the disagreements between the parties seriously reduce the effectiveness of monitoring.

Thus, the OSCE mechanisms created the capacities for resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis back in the 1990s, but fundamental political differences between Baku and Yerevan did not allow them to realize the potential. Meanwhile, lack of tools to prevent escalation led to the fact that the organization did not have any impact on the outbreaks of military confrontation in 2016 and 2020. And while the conflict was terminated 5 years ago due to the military stalemate, the 2020 ceasefire was ensured by the intervention of Moscow and the subsequent introduction of Russian peacekeepers.

The qualitative change in the balance of power and the active involvement of countries such as Russia and Turkey in the crisis resulted in the OSCE mechanisms losing their previous significance in resolving the conflict, and in order to maintain them, they had to find a new role in the changed conditions [2].

The OSCE in Resolving the South Ossetian Crisis: Mission Closed

The OSCE was involved in resolving the conflict in South Ossetia when the main mechanisms for its settlement had already been formed. This greatly influenced the work of the organization. The Mission was created in 1992 at Tbilisi’s initiative, after the Agreement on Principles of Settlement of the Georgian-Ossetian Conflict was signed, with the mission being accordingly integrated into the already established structures. The OSCE participated in the work of the Joint Control Commission (JCC), which included Georgia, Russia, North and South Ossetia, monitored the Joint Peacekeeping Forces, consisting of Georgian, Russian and Ossetian forces, and conducted ceasefire monitoring. The organisation also worked to find a solution to the conflict. The patrolling of the Russian-Georgian border, which has been carried out since 1999, was called off in 2005 at Moscow’s initiative.

However, the mission did not make a significant contribution to the resolution of the conflict, despite the achievements in certain humanitarian issues. This can be explained both by the aforementioned secondary nature in comparison with the already created structures and by a lack of support among the key political actors. In particular, the OSCE conflict resolution suggestions developed independently of the JCC were not supported by the parties. Already in 1994, South Ossetia rejected a proposal guaranteeing its autonomous status within Georgia [3]. In August 2008, the OSCE monitored the development of the conflict, but did not play a significant role in its stabilization. Therefore, the mission was soon withdrawn due to controversy between Russia and the other member states of the organisation.

The OSCE Mission to Moldova: Small Steps Policy

The OSCE participated in the settlement of the Transnistrian conflict once its most acute phase had been overcome. In particular, the organisation was puzzled by the signing of a ceasefire agreement and the establishment of the Joint Control Commission (JCC), consisting of representatives of the armed forces of Moldova, Russia and the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic. According to its mandate, the mission should assist in laying the groundwork for dialogue between Chisinau and Tiraspol, collecting information about the situation in the region, providing consultations, and encouraging negotiations on the conclusion of an agreement on the status of the PMR and the withdrawal of foreign troops. Late in 1999, the mandate of the OSCE mission was expanded with the additional task of “ensuring transparency of the removal and destruction of Russian ammunition and armaments”.

The participation of the OSCE mission in the settlement of the crisis is ensured both through observers and through involvement in the negotiation process. The OSCE, along with Russia and Ukraine, is a guarantor of the 5+2 format. Over 28 years, the mission has helped to resolve a number of issues, including the opening of traffic on the bridge across the Dnieper River near the village of Gura Bîcului, providing Moldovan farmers with access to plots in the Dubăsari District of Transnistria, recognition of documents and license plates, etc. However, one cannot speak of a substantial intermediary contribution by the OSCE to the conflict resolution process. Progress in this process can only be achieved by changing the policies of the leading actors. Thus, the proposals of the mission representatives on possible ways out of the crisis did not find support in Chisinau and Tiraspol (1993 Report No. 13 by T. Williams, Head of Mission, proposing a special status for Transdniestria) [4].

The OSCE and the Ukrainian Crisis: An Enhanced Role

Events in south-eastern Ukraine revived interest in the OSCE as a mediator in crisis settlement. A certain level of confidence in the organization on the part of Russia, Ukraine and the EU countries made the OSCE a multilateral platform where negotiations on a possible de-escalation of the conflict were conducted.

It was on the basis of the OSCE that the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) of representatives of Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE was formed with the participation of the unrecognized republics of the DPR and LPR. The TCG’s contribution to the negotiations was both the signing of fundamental documents outlining ways of resolving the crisis, including the Minsk Protocol, the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements, the “Steinmeier Formula”, and the agreement on measures aimed at de-escalating the military situation, including the agreements on withdrawal of troops, ceasefires and the exchange of prisoners. It was the existence of this mechanism that made it possible to resolve a number of urgent issues fairly quickly—namely, to release the OSCE observers at the beginning of the conflict and to provide investigators with access to the crash site of the Malaysian Boeing-777. With the participation of working subgroups, the TCG develops and coordinates specific agreements. However, their signing requires the support of the Normandy Four, and the implementation of the coherent measures depends on the political situation. Thus, decisions on the disengagement of forces have repeatedly been frustrated and none of the fundamental settlement documents has been fully implemented.

The OSCE’s field experience in conflict zones allowed the organization to form a Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) in a short time. The SMM’s mandate includes monitoring the situation in the region in terms of security, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and incidents, especially those concerning alleged violations of fundamental OSCE principles and commitments. The observers publish daily reports on the OSCE website for the participating States of the organization and the general public.

The number of OSCE observers has increased from 100 to 660 and, together with other international and local staff, to 1,270 over 7 years of conflict. The SMM contingent has been reinforced with modern equipment, including unmanned aerial vehicles. Table 1 clearly shows that the monitoring mission in Ukraine is many times larger than the contingents involved in conflicts in the neighbouring states.

Table 1. The size of OSCE monitoring missions, including locally hired staff

 Ukrainian crisisSouth Ossetian crisisTransnistrian crisisNagorno-Karabakh crisis
Size (largest and smallest value)100–12708–1838–536–17 (Office of the Personal Representative of the Chair)

Source: Compiled by the author from OSCE open data.

The OSCE mission is sometimes criticized for bias by both Russia and Ukraine, although these reproaches from both sides may also confirm its relative neutrality. Russian Foreign Minister S. Lavrov expressed the hope that the OSCE would be impartial in monitoring the situation in Ukraine, noting that the Special Monitoring Mission should work with both Donetsk and Luhansk. This was announced at a meeting with A. Linde, Swedish Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairman-in-Office, on November 19, 2021.

The SMM’s limited ability to provide a complete picture of events is also a source of criticism. In particular, it concerns the ability to establish the ownership of military equipment and to investigate the shelling of populated areas [5]. If one looks at the daily reports of the SMM and tables of ceasefire violations, it can be concluded that the documents do not specify the party that carried out the shelling and the explosions, which gives some space for interpretation.

Despite some negative assessments, the existence of the OSCE mission still makes it possible to at least partially control the implementation of the decisions made within the organisation. Besides, observers being present serves as a kind of deterrent preventing an escalation of the conflict. In particular, according to the SMM, in recent months its activities have facilitated the operation of the Donetsk Filter Station, which supplies water to 380 thousand people on both sides of the contact line.

The deployment of observers, initiated by Moscow, at two checkpoints of the Russian-Ukrainian border, Donetsk and Gukovo, is considered less effective. Russia refused to extend the observation mission in September 2021.

Thus, the OSCE mechanisms are quite successfully embedded in the general system of initiatives aimed at resolving the Ukrainian crisis. Strategic decisions are made at the state level, including in the Normandy Four. The TCG develops and signs specific measures, while the SMM monitors the implementation of OSCE decisions and the situation in the conflict zone. The position of states, as well as the external and internal political environment, are the determining factors in crisis resolution. Without them, decisions made at the TCG level will remain fixed only on paper.

However, the OSCE formats fulfil their important role. Firstly, working mechanisms allow a plan to be developed more quickly in case of a change in the political environment. Secondly, it makes it possible to faster come to a compromise in emergency situations. Third, the presence of both the TCG and the SMM can be viewed as obstacles to an uncontrolled escalation of the conflict.

***

The CSCE/OSCE has been accused of being ineffective and weak in crisis management across the post-Soviet space for almost three decades. However, it seems that this criticism has more to do with incorrect assessments of the role and capabilities of the organisation and the excessive expectations placed on it. The historical context of the institution’s establishment has determined its features. The OSCE cannot force peace or resolve a conflict without consensus among the participating states.

In many ways, this has led to the organization’s rather poor contribution to the settlement of the crises in Nagorno-Karabakh and South Ossetia. However, the OSCE’s weaknesses can become its strengths amid growing mistrust between states. The need to reach agreement among the 57 participating states, while making the organization dependent on the political environment, reduces fears that the institution will impose the will of more powerful players on the states in the minority. It was this credit of confidence that allowed the OSCE to become a forum for negotiating a de-escalation of the Ukrainian crisis. Moreover, the organisation has had principal experience in shaping mechanisms designed to solve specific narrow tasks over the past decades.

The Ukrainian crisis has demonstrated progress in establishing monitoring missions. In other words, the OSCE can provide framework conditions for conflict resolution, but these must be in demand among the political actors in order to for the potential to be realized.

1. Загорский А.В. Россия в системе европейской безопасности. М.: ИМЭМО, 2017. С.30.

2. Remler P., Giragosian R., Lorenzini M., Rastoltsev S. OSCE Minsk Group: Lessons from the Past and Tasks for the Future. OSCE Insights 2020/06. Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2020. P. 85–99.

3. Stöber S. The Failure of the OSCE Mission to Georgia – What Remains? IFSH (ed.). OSCE Yearbook 2010. Baden-Baden 2011. P. 206.

4. Welbert R. Der Einsatz der OSZE in der Republik Moldau. IFSH (Hrsg.), OSZE-Jahrbuch 1995, Baden-Baden 1995, S. 193-210.

5. Загорский А.В. Ежегодник СИПРИ 2014: вооружения, разоружение и международная безопасность. М.: ИМЭМО РАН, 2015. С. 618.

From our partner RIAC

Dr. Maria Khorolskaya is a research fellow of the Department for European Political Studies, Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), Russian Academy of Sciences

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Eastern Europe

Ukraine’s issue may endanger peace in the whole of Europe

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Big challenges ahead, the world may face uncertainty, and unrest, as NATO allies have put forces on standby and sent ships and fighter jets to bolster Europe’s eastern defenses as tensions soar over Russia’s military buildup near Ukraine.

The military alliance’s move, announced on Monday, came as the United Kingdom began withdrawing staff from its embassy in Kyiv as fears persist of an imminent Russian invasion. Britain’s move came after the United States took similar action.

The UK’s foreign office said in a statement that it was pulling out “some embassy staff and dependents” in response to “the growing threat from Russia”.

Tensions in Ukraine are high following Russia’s massing of some 100,000 troops near its neighbor. The West says Moscow, which is angered by the growing relationship between Kyiv and NATO, is preparing to attack Ukraine.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied planning to make an incursion, but the Russian military already took a chunk of Ukrainian territory when it seized Crimea and backed separatist forces who took control of large parts of eastern Ukraine eight years ago.

UK’s Johnson warns against ‘disastrous’ invasion

Johnson has said that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would be a “disastrous step” by Moscow.

“We need to make it very clear to the Kremlin, to Russia, that that would be a disastrous step,” he told broadcasters, adding an incursion would be a “painful, violent and bloody business”.

Asked whether he thought an invasion was now imminent, Johnson said intelligence was “pretty gloomy on this point”.

“I don’t think it’s by any means inevitable now, I think that sense can still prevail,” he said.

Moscow accuses the West of ‘hysteria’

Moscow has accused the US and its allies of escalating East-West tensions by announcing plans to boost NATO forces in Eastern Europe and evacuate the families of diplomats from the US embassy in Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused the West of spreading information filled with “hysteria” and “laced with lies” and said the probability of military conflict in eastern Ukraine being initiated by the Ukrainian side was higher than ever.

He claimed Kyiv has deployed a large number of troops near the borders of breakaway regions controlled by pro-Russian separatists, indicating it is preparing to attack them. Ukraine has repeatedly denied having any plans to do so.

Although Europe was part of the cold war and many other wars in other parts of the world but was away from any big war on its own soil for several decades. The prosperity and economic development were due to peace and stability in Europe for such a long time. People were feeling safe and secure, and focusing only on economic developments. If any misadventure happened in Europe, the unrest and instability may cost a heavy price.

It is appealed to politicians and decision-makers to avoid any misadventure and avoid any instability in Europe as well as other parts of the world. Wars never benefit humankind, even, winning the war does not mean success absolutely. The cost is on the human lives, either side of the warring countries. The world has been emerged as a global village and may impact whole humanity if any part of the world is disturbed.

Pakistan was the victim of the four-decade-long Afghan war for four decades and suffered heavy losses in the form of precious human lives as well as economic losses. The bitter lesson learned was to stay away from wars. Pakistan has learned this bitter lesson after huge suffering. Hope, the rest of the world may learn from our experience and may avoid any big loss.

It is believed that there is nothing that cannot be resolved through peaceful diplomatic dialogue, as long as there is a strong will for peace. The UN may intervene and play its due role to protect human lives. Hope all concerns may initiate meaningful dialogue and save humanity from big loss. Humankind is the most precious thing in this universe and must be protected at all costs.

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Ukraine Lies About 2022 Russian Attack to Hide Dying Economy

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Yesterday, Ukraine’s president Zelensky speaking to the Ukrainian Foreign Intelligence Service said “We have learned to contain external threats. It is time to launch an offensive to secure our national interests. We are united in wanting our territory returned immediately”.

Beginning the day after Joe Biden’s inauguration, Ukraine has been complaining of Russia’s troop buildup of over 90,000 men on its border. According to Ukraine’s Zelensky, Russia was prepared to attack at any moment.

In response to this, Ukraine mobilized over ½ its army or over 170,000 troops to the frontline with all the heavy weapons at its disposal accompanying them.

This force was a supposed counter to the Russian invasion army, which again, was just over the border.

In reality, the Russian army staged planned war games near the city of Yelnya, 160 miles (257 kilometers) from the Ukrainian border. You read that right, the Russian army was160 miles away from the Ukrainian border even though every major western publication made it sound like they were already in Kiev.

For the average modern army, that means over a day’s travel just to get to the Ukrainian border. Then another 4-5 hours travel on top of that to where the Ukrainian army is. So much for a surprise attack.

So what is it that Ukraine’s President Zelensky finds so threatening about Russia?

Ukraine’s President Zelensky told visiting US Senators in early June that the country’s military defense against Russia and the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline are inextricably intertwined.

Once the project is completed, Ukraine will be deprived of the funds required to fund defense spending and defend Europe’s eastern border.

“Nord Stream 2 will cut Ukraine off from gas supplies, which will cost us at least USD 3 billion per year.”

Zelensky, always the joker, wants Russia to pay $3 billion per year so he personally can defend Europe from Russia who is paying him.

What a great story. He’s confusing screenwriting fantasy with diplomacy again.

“We won’t be able to pay for the Ukrainian army,” Zelensky observed.

In reality, Ukraine has about one month’s worth of diesel if Kiev ignores Ukraine’s responsibility to its own people to provide a safety net or at least access to necessities like bread or shelter in below-zero weather that’s on its way next month by heavily subsidizing gas and electric costs.

The only thing the government in Kiev is concerned about is losing the $3 billion in transit fees from the country they accuse of attacking them.

Zelensky’s government went as far as demanding fees from Germany and Russia when Nordstream II took over the transit game.

Zelensky’s Ukraine is shuffling Europe, NATO, and the US closer and closer to the line where one mistake in diplomacy, one stupid move by any of Ukraine’s infamous Neanderthal nationalist volunteers, and bang!

The next headline reads- Oops! Thousands dead in Ukraine as the war spreads to Europe.

Joe “Brandon” and club RINO are sleepwalking America right into this level of catastrophe by coddling his pet kleptocracy who’s already stolen billions of US dollars meant as aid.

And why? Why oh-why indeed.

Ukraine is using the supposed Russian attack to renegotiate its unsolvable gas situation.

It’s either this or tells Ukrainians; Oops! We screwed the pooch guys! You’re gonna freeze because we can’t afford gas.

Russia won’t invade because then Russia will be responsible for providing a total civil safety net including gas and electricity for Ukrainian people who otherwise can’t afford it.

Ukraine’s economy is dying. Russia doesn’t plan to foot the bill.

According to Oleg Popenko, the head of the Union of Consumers of Utilities (UCU), high gas costs will prevent most small and medium-sized firms from operating and will force them to close.

According to him, small business owners will be unable to “pull” the payment of 7,000 hryvnias (22,000 rubles) for heating.

As a result, we can anticipate a reduction in the activities of hairdressing salons, bakers, dry cleaners, dental offices, and so on.

They will either have to include the higher-priced communal unit in the pricing of their services, or they will have to close.

All types of businesses, from small dry cleaners to big agricultural holdings, use gas to some extent.

The only ones who benefit from the price increase are Ukrainian gas-producing businesses, which are now raising the price for their users’ dozens of times, resulting in massive profits.

In a recent interview, former President’s Office head Andriy Bogdan forecast a total economic collapse by February of next year.

“Here we still have December – this is the pre-New Year’s, joyous month, when everyone spends money, and somehow with hope:” We’ll pluck something out of the egg-box and live.”

However, this will not be the case in January and February.

“We will dismiss people, our industry will grow, our budget revenues will fall, and our economy will boom based on the price of gas and electricity,” Bogdan added.

“With a further rise in gas prices, the chemical industry and the production of fertilizers are at risk of dying altogether, predicts energy expert Valentin Zemlyansky.

“Industry will die. I am not kidding. The impact of energy prices on the business situation is an inertial process. The business will not close immediately, it will happen in stages. The beginning will be in March 2022, we will see the peak by May-June,”the expert says. Zemlyansky also emphasizes that this happens with a favorable market environment – mineral fertilizers are in demand, they are actively purchased by India, Pakistan, and China, but Ukrainian enterprises cannot afford their production. This was confirmed by the recent suspension of the specialized work of the Odessa Port Plant.

Thus, Ukrainian exporters are squeezed out of world markets. Many of Ukraine’s neighbors that produce similar products (for example, nitrogen fertilizers) receive gas at fixed low prices. In Turkey, for example, the government regulates gas prices for such businesses. It will also be difficult to sell the products that have risen in price on the domestic market due to the falling purchasing power.

Economic analyst Igor Deysan also warns that an increase in fertilizer prices will lead to the abandonment of sowing of many crops and an increase in the price of agricultural products, especially wheat in the 2022-2023 season.

“The cost of gas is largely carried over to the cost of wheat and other crops. If gas prices remain high for a long time, the rise in gas prices can make a significant contribution to the price of wheat,” the expert predicts.

Farmers still need to dry the harvested wheat crop, which also implies significant gas consumption. The next in the cycle of its processing are millers and bakers, who are also going bankrupt due to high gas prices.”

The breadbasket of Europe is empty. Ukraine hasn’t seen this scarcity since the 1932-33 famine they are constantly enshrining. The difference between then and now is this time the government is responsible for all of it.

Bakeries will close down because Ukraine oversold wheat to Turkey and its stocks are empty. Now, the breadbasket nation needs to purchase flour from Turkey.

Even if the grain was there, the gas needed to furnish the bakeries, cities, businesses, homes, hospitals, and government buildings with heat and electricity is not.

Deputy from the “Opposition Platform – For Life” Yuriy Boyko said on the air the other day that high gas prices are ruining bakeries. “I came to a bakery in the Kiev region. A modern enterprise. The bakery today pays for gas seven times more than a year ago. And for electricity twice. And energy carriers play a very significant role in the cost of bread, about 20%. That is, in reality, already today they are forced to either increase the cost of bread, or there will be no bread, ”the deputy said.

The short-term gas forecast for Ukraine looks bleak even though Ukraine has the second-largest proven gas reserves in Europe right behind Russia.

 Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, now the leader of the Batkivshchyna party, stated on the Nash TV station on December 22 that Ukraine could furnish itself with gas in three years, but only under particular conditions.

Earlier, the politician said that Ukraine should not wait to purchase Russian gas supplies until the end of the heating season, because there is nowhere else to get it.

According to Tymoshenko, “To enhance gas production in Ukraine, the president’s will is required first and foremost because this should become a strategic and critical program for the development of the state’s energy sector.”

Today, there is no such political will. “Licenses are dispersed on the right and left,” she explained.

Secondly, according to Tymoshenko, non-budget banking investment resources must be directed to Ukrgazvydobuvannya, which also needs to be licensed for all explored deposits. In this case, the ex-prime minister is sure that Ukraine will provide its own gas in 3 years.            

Gas firms promise to reinvest revenues in increased production and modernization, but in the meantime, all other industries and small businesses can relocate across the world.

The Association of Gas Production Companies (AGKU) vehemently rejected proposals to impose state regulation of Ukrainian gas pricing in October, citing the fact that it would “inflict a blow on Ukraine’s image in the world arena and severely harm the European Union.” integration processes”.

Only those Ukrainian oligarchs’ enterprises like those of Rinat Akhmetov, Igor Kolomoisky, and Viktor Pinchuk, who control gas production companies and can send natural gas to their enterprises are affected in this situation.

If Ukraine could produce enough gas tomorrow, its citizens can’t afford high-priced Ukrainian gas and hydrocarbon products. The reserves are 5000 ft. below the surface and the costs of drilling and extraction are quite high.

The only way Biden’s Ukraine can become energy independent is if fuel prices perpetually soar from now on. Ukraine will be able to pay financial obligations like World Bank loans and investors like Hunter Biden.

According to Yuriy Vitrenko, the newly appointed CEO of Ukraine’s energy behemoth Naftogaz, Nord Stream 2 will give Gazprom a dominant position in Europe, giving it significant leverage over Germany and other EU countries.

The only option to avert this scenario is for Ukraine to gain access to gas from other gas-producing countries like Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, or Azerbaijan, which would gladly use Ukraine’s transit system to sell gas to Europe.

“Germany should ensure that Gazprom cannot obstruct us,” Vitrenko argues.

“They must do so before Nord Stream 2 is completed, while Germany retains the essential leverage.”

The Germans must impose a moratorium until this type of competitive solution is implemented.”

If Russia refuses to cooperate, it will show that Nord Stream 2 is simply a geopolitical weapon aimed at harming Ukraine and monopolizing Europe’s energy markets, according to Vitrenko.”We have a transit system in Ukraine.” Let us compete to bring other gas providers into Europe,” we argue.

Vitrenko believes that once Nord Stream 2 is completed and the present five-year contract expires in 2025, Russian gas will no longer flow via Ukraine.

Arsen Avakov, Ukraine’s Interior Minister, has claimed that Russia may not even complete the current contract.

He warned that Moscow may disrupt Ukraine’s pipeline network to hinder gas transit across the nation and boost the argument for Nord Stream 2.

What’s interesting about this is it brings us right back to a graft-investor scenario reminiscent of Biden-Burisma. The companies feed profits to investors instead of reinvestment into equipment and permitting.

Secondly, Vitrenko wants the most expensive gas in Europe to materialize in his Ukrainian pipe. Caspian Sea gas, like Ukrainian fracked gas, is extremely costly to produce. The average Ukrainian won’t be able to afford it even if it was a possibility.

It’s only now that we get to the part that will make Americans and Europeans equally appalled.

Biden is using gas and oil cost spikes due to his mandated production cuts and the attempt to shutter Nordstream II to support Ukraine.

The more hydrocarbon product costs spike, the less dependent the EU and Ukraine are on Russian gas. This means fewer Russian gas transits to the EU.

As a consequence, Ukraine can profitably frack hydrocarbons and pay oligarchs, political grafts, and international loans. The gas is too expensive for Ukrainian people but investors like Hunter Biden or Amos Hochstein make out like bandits.

The more profitable the expensive EU oil and gas production rigs become, the more diverse gas purchases are and short-term energy diversification and security is achieved through extremely high price energy products.

If energy costs are through the roof, Joe “Brandon” has a clear runway to dismantle the US economy and Democrats will do what Democrats are doing.

Why should this infuriate you? What’s the difference between $1.80 per gallon and $4.00 per gallon gasoline in the US when it’s coming out of your pocket? The difference is Ukraine’s ability to pay its bills. The difference is Ukrainian politicians dealing with their own problems like grownups. The difference is Ukraine starts acting like a partner and less like a petulant child throwing temper tantrums.

How do higher fuel costs transfer to high retail off-the-shelf product costs?

Do high energy costs contribute to runaway inflation?

Now you know.

It is a hard enough choice to bear the cost in lives when a war is worth fighting and can’t be avoided. Ukraine’s Zelensky doesn’t want Donbass back in the fold. Just a few weeks ago, Zelensky described the citizens he claims to want back as “subhuman.”

The Ukrainians, as of January 2022, are not good partners or friends to America. They are unworthy of American support.  Do we want to give them the opportunity to send American kids to war so their oligarchs and our politicians can steal more?

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Eastern Europe

The Stewards of Hate

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A big bear is rattling the open door of his cage.  He cannot abide a NATO spear in his belly.  Hence Valdimir Putin’s demand for Ukraine to remain out of it, and for the military alliance to stop its advance into eastern Europe.

For 72 years until 1991, Ukraine was a republic of the Soviet Union, and before that for centuries an oblast of the Imperial Russian empire.  In 1939, parts belonging to Poland were annexed.

It was during the breakup of Russia following an independence referendum that Ukraine opted to separate.  But NATO is another story.  After the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact (NATO’s eastern counterpart), Russia had expected the West to do the same.  Instead, NATO became a US fig leaf for its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Apparently, everyone in the world saw through this — except the US — as it embroiled itself in both countries, and the bill for the misadventures rocketed from $80 billion to an estimated $5 trillion.

The EU, a path to riches for East Europeans, is a Ukrainian dream, and Russian troops the reality when they wake up.  Such are the facts, no matter how much the Ukrainians are trying to ignore them. 

If the powerful Russian bear is the Ukrainian bete noire, its polar opposite is the case in India.  A powerful Hindutva movement abhors the Muslim minority.  It blames them for India’s problems, very much akin to the situation for Jews in pre-WW2 Germany.  Not unsurprisingly given the roots of the RSS, which modeled itself after the Nazis, instituting uniforms and drills.  A former member assassinated Gandhi for being too soft on Muslims.  Post independence, the RSS was banned by India’s first government which was led by Jawaharlal Nehru, a secular socialist.

The current prime minister, Narendra Modi, is a former RSS pracharak —  that is an active member who devotes himself full time to promoting RSS doctrine and, like a missionary, in seeking new members.  As an ambitious politician, he shed RSS ties when he entered politics and as leader expresses the wish for unity — sentiments not shared by his BHP colleagues.

There is the yogi elected chief minister of India’s largest state, and his undisguised derogatory opinions of Muslims.  Worse, at a political event at the end of December, leaders called openly for the killing of Muslims, and India’s leaders kept silent.  After general social media outrage at the speeches, the police  finally registered a case against some of the speakers for ‘promoting hatred between religious groups.’

Videos show many of the speakers are prominent religious leaders often present with senior ministers in the BJP government.  Imagine, calling for genocide in 2021.  The world reacted to the effort to eliminate Tutsis in Rwanda where it also began with reviling and dehumanization.  Genocide and even incitement to genocide is a crime.  Hence the prosecutions.  Incitement to genocide is recognized as a separate crime under international law and an inchoate crime which does not require genocide to have taken place to be prosecutable.

The founders of post-independence India, Gandhi and Nehru who took pride in being secular, must be in agony over international outlaws wanting to become the stewards of their child.

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